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Mountain Heritage Center / Western Carolina University
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Mountain Heritage Center
Photos courtesy of Mountain Gateway Museum / Terrell Finley

The fibers of an inspirational heritage

The galleries of the Mountain Heritage Center bring mountain history and culture onto the main stage of who we are as a people and what’s at stake right now in these coves and hilltops we love to call home.  Through gallery, school and outreach programs, the center delivers textured educational programs, covering a myriad of topics from the myths and legends of the Cherokee, through to the intellectual and imaginative footprints of Horace Kephart and William Bartram.

Officially showcasing “mountain societies and the natural world,” the center serves as a hothouse for recognizing and nurturing heritage crafts, from blacksmithing to quilt making, and often reaches out to other communities through traveling exhibits.

Each fall, the Center presents Mountain Heritage Day, recently named one of the Top 20 festivals in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society. Always held on the last Saturday in September, this free celebration of southern Appalachian music, arts, dance and culture has something for everyone, with demonstrations of traditional mountain crafts and skills, Cherokee stickball games, over 100 arts & crafts vendors, and numerous children’s activities. For music lovers, the performances are non-stop, with shape-note singing, bluegrass, old-time string bands, ballads, gospel music and clogging on stages and tents throughout the day.

The Mountain Heritage Center publishes books, produces musical recordings, and hosts educational programs for local public school children and university students. Its collection of over 10,000 artifacts includes woodworking tools, quilts, coverlets, and early transportation equipment. Some of the Mountain Heritage Center’s programming has been used by The Smithsonian Institution and the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress.

For hours and news of current exhibits, visit the website.



Hunter Library, 176 Central Drive, HL 240, Western Carolina UniversityCullowhee, NC 28723Get DirectionsPhone: (828) 227-7129Web: https://www.wcu.edu/engage/mountain-heritage-center/ Facebook

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